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College Football Season

Alabama Washes Out LSU 21-0 To Win BCS Title

State of Alabama Wins 3rd Consecutive Title; SEC Gets 6th in-a-row

by Dave Congrove
January 10, 2012

See Bowl Schedule and Pairings

Conference Bowl Records
Conference W-L Games Pct.
CUSA 4-1 5 .800
MAC 4-1 5 .800
Big 12 6-2 8 .750
SEC 6-3 9 .667
Big East 3-2 5 .600
Independents 1-1 2 .500
Big 10 4-6 10 .400
Mountain West 2-3 5 .400
Sun Belt 1-2 3 .333
PAC-12 2-5 7 .286
ACC 2-6 8 .250
WAC 0-3 3 .000
Through games of 1/9

The SEC got its 6th consecutive national title by default as Alabama blanked fellow SEC West member LSU 21-0 in the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans on Monday night (January 9). LSU fell to 13-1 with the loss and Alabama completed the season 12-1 by avenging its only loss of the season, a 9-6 overtime home setback to the Tigers on November 5.

Just like the first go-around, this game was about defense and field goals. The difference is Alabama had all of both, and even scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Jeremy Shelley made 5 field goals and missed 2, and Trent Richardson scored the only touchdowns these teams could muster in 8 quarters of competition when he bounced an inside run to the left and ran untouched down the sideline for 34 yards with just 4:36 left to play in the game. Shelley clanked the PAT off the right upright.

The game-clinching run came just four plays after LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson had the ball knocked from his hands near mid-field, just a few plays after the Tigers had made their only foray of the night into Alabama territory. But after advancing to the 'Bama 32-yard line, a 3-yard loss on an option and a 5-yard penalty sent the Bayou Bengals backward.

The score doesn't tell the whole story of Alabama's domination. The Tide outgained LSU 383-91 and collected 21 first down's to LSU's 5. The Tide ran 69 plays while LSU had just 45 snaps. Alabama committed just one penalty the entire game and that was late in the fourth quarter on punt defense when the game was in-hand.

Head coach Nick Saban won his second national title with Alabama (2009 season) and third overall (LSU, 2003 season). He is the first head coach to win three national championships in the BCS era.

The state of Alabama captured its third consecutive title with Auburn winning last year's matchup with Oregon 22-19.

Make no mistake, this title is not free of controversy, though the dominating manner in which 'Bama won will help sweep of that controversy under the rug. Still, the Tide becomes national champions by going 1-1 vs. LSU while the Tigers are 1-1 against the Crimson Tide and are not the champions. It is the first time such a scenario has unfolded since the pre-BCS days of Florida-Florida State in the 1996 season. Alabama is also the first member of a conference to win the national championship - while not winning its own conference -since 1936.

Alabama improved its overall bowl record to 34-22-3 as it gave the SEC its 8th national title in the BCS's 14-year era. LSU's bowl record fell to 22-20-1.

Northern Illinois came back from an early 13-0 hole to beat Arkansas State 38-20 in the Bowl on Sunday night (January 9). The Huskies scored 31 unanswered points after falling behind, aided by five Arkansas State turnovers that led to 20 NIU points. Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish threw for 270 yards but lost 7 on the ground to fall short in his bid to become the first to thrown for 3,000 yards and run for 1,500 in the same season. This would have been a battle of first-year head coaches, but Hugh Freeze left Arkansas State after just one season to fill the vacancy at Ole Miss. Offensive coordinator David Gunn was named interim head coach for the bowl game. Gus Malzahn, Arkansas' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Auburn for the past three seasons, now takes over the reins. Freeze led Arkansas State to a 6-win improvement over the previous season's 4-8 finish. In the process, the Red Wolves captured their first outright Sun Belt title and gained their first 10-win season (10-3, 8-0) since 1986. Northern Illinois didn't miss a beat after losing Jerry Kill to Minnesota after the 2010 season. Dave Doren replicated Kill's 11-3 record and bowl win, and added a MAC Championship game win.

SMU scored touchdowns on its second, third and fourth possessions en route to a 28-6 rumble over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday (January 7). Meanwhile, Pitt was held to just 10 yards rushing, 205 total yards, and negative yardage on four drives. Additionally, the Panthers were forced to punt 7 times, including on 5-of-6 drives in the second half as SMU head coach June Jones picked up his 100th win.

Joe Adams returned a punt 51 yards for a touchdown, Tyler Wilson threw two scoring passes and Zach Hocker added three field goals as Arkansas opened a 19-0 lead and then held on for a 29-16 win over Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night (January 6). SEC teams have won 8 of the last 9 Cotton Bowls. This was only the fifth meeting all-time between the schools, the first since 1967, and only the second since 1926.

West Virginia rolled over Clemson 70-33 in the school's first-ever appearance in the Orange Bowl on Wednesday (January 4) Turnovers by the Tigers aided a 35-point West Virginia outburst that turned a 17-14 deficit into a 49-20 halftime lead. West Virginia QB Geno Smith threw for 401 yards to break Tom Brady's Orange Bowl record set in 2000. His 6 TD passes eclipsed the BCS record of 5 set by USC's Matt Leinart in 2005. The Mountaineers improved to 3-0 in BCS bowl games while finishing the season 10-3 for their first 10-win campaign since 2007, the final year of the Rich Rodriguez era. The ACC champion Tigers finished the season 10-4 after making their first Orange Bowl appearance in 30 years since beating Nebraska in the game that earned them the 1981 National Championship.

Despite being outgained 377-187 and unable to mount any serious offensive threat, Michigan downed Virginia Tech 23-20 on Tuesday night (January 3rd) in the first overtime game in 78 editions of the Sugar Bowl. Justin Myer, a senior kick-off specialist turned field goal kicker was 4-for-4 until sending a 37-yarder wide right on the first possession of overtime. The Wolverines' Brendan Gibbons split the uprights 4 plays later. Myer hit a 25-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in regulation to get the Hokies into overtime. Virginia Tech finished 11-3 and Michigan 11-2 in a game played between the winningest team since 1995 (the Hokies) and the winningest team of all-time.

The traditional New Year's Day bowl games came a day late to steer clear of the NFL schedule, but the extra 24-hour wait proved to be worth it as all six games on Monday were worthy of viewing.

As if to purposely save the best for last, the Rose and Fiesta bowls were classics. Oregon defeated Wisconsin 45-38 to become Rose Bowl champs for the first time since the 1916 season, and Oklahoma State edged Stanford 41-38 in overtime for its first major bowl win since the 1945 season Sugar Bowl. The action at the end of both games was heart-pounding. Russell Wilson drove Wisconsin from his 15 to the Ducks' 25 in 16 seconds, but the final 2 seconds ran off as Wilson took the snap and spiked the ball to try and kill the clock. The Fiesta finish saw Stanford have a chip shot field goal get pulled wide left with seconds left in regulation, and a go-ahead field goal in overtime do the same after a bad snap that left the laces pointed at the kicker. Oklahoma State won three plays later on a 22-yard field goal.

Florida denied Ohio State its chance to avenge the 2006 BCS title game loss to the Gators. With Florida's 24-17 Gator Bowl win in Jacksonville on Monday, Ohio State finished a season with 7 losses for the first time in 114 years of football. Former Florida coach Urban Meyer now takes the reins of a Buckeye program that will be banned from the postseason next year and must endure three years of other probation penalties from the NCAA.

South Carolina set a new school record for victories, finishing 11-2 with a 30-13 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. 70 miles or so from that game in Orlando, Michigan State and Georgia played a triple-overtime thriller in the Outback Bowl in Tampa that produced the Big Ten's only win of the day (1-4) as the Spartans were on top of the 33-30 final.

One of the newest kids on the block, the TicketCity Bowl, didn't produce the drama of the other five games, but it also didn't disappoint. Case Keenum threw for 532 yards and 3 TD's in his final collegiate game as Houston downed Penn State 30-14. The win gave the Cougars a school record 13-win (13-1) season, and the loss put an exclamation point on a nightmarish, scandalous season for Penn State.

Auburn blocked two Virginia punts and recovered an onside kick en route to a 42-23 Chick-fil-A Bowl win in the last college football game of 2011. Virginia had early leads of 7-0 and 14-7 before the Tigers reeled off 21 straight points to take command. Auburn's 5th straight bowl win improved its all-time bowl record to 22-13-2.

UCLA closed its season with an embarrassing 6-8 record by falling 20-14 to Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl with interim head coaches leading both teams. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning led the Illini in place of the fired Ron Zook, and offensive coordinator Mike Johnson took over the Bruins in place of the fired Rick Neuheisel. Illinois came into the contest on a 6-game losing streak.

Also on New Year's Eve day, Cincinnati won the Liberty Bowl 31-24 on the strength of Ralph Abernathy IV's 90-yard kickoff return after Vanderbilt had just taken a 21-17 lead in the 4th quarter.

John White's 8-yard run in overtime completed Utah's rally from a 14-point 4th quarter deficit as the Utes took down Georgia Tech 30-27 in overtime in the Sun Bowl. It was the 7th straight bowl loss for the Yellow Jackets who own the second-longest bowl futility streak.

Texas A&M won the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas 33-22 to hand Northwestern its 9th straight bowl loss. The Wildcats' only bowl win came in their first-ever bowl appearance, the 1948 season Rose Bowl. The Aggies' first bowl win since 2001 ended their own 5-bowl losing streak. They were just 2-12 in their previous 14 bowl games.

Oklahoma notched its 33rd season of at least 10 victories when it downed Iowa 31-14 in the Insight Bowl on Friday night (December 30). The Sooners saw a 21-0 third quarter lead shrink to 21-14 before a late 10-point flurry put the game away. The Sooners played conservatively in marching toward the field goal to up by 10, and after holding Iowa on downs, Oklahoma added an accidental touchdown while trying to run out the clock as backup QB Blake Bell ran up the gut and found no one in his way for a 21-yard scamper. The Sooners upped their all-time bowl record to 27-17-1 with their third straight bowl win. Iowa is 14-11-1 after its 3-bowl winning streak came to an end.

Earlier in the evening, Mississippi State saw the SEC's first action of the 2011 bowl season and knocked off Wake Forest 23-17 in a Music City Bowl battle of two 6-6 teams. Wake's only lead was at 7-0 in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs quickly tied it on a 60-yard run by Vick Ballard and went in front for good on a Chris Relf 31-yard pass hookup with Arceto Clark in the 2nd frame. The bowl win was Mississippi State's fifth in-a-row. Head coach Dan Mullen guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 1999-2000.

Rutgers also pocketed its fifth straight bowl win by holding off Iowa State in the Pinstripe Bowl at the new Yankee Stadium in The Bronx. A 17-point second quarter gave the Scarlet Knights a 17-6 halftime lead as head coach Greg Schiano ran his bowl record to 5-1 with Rutgers. The school had only played in one bowl game before his arrival - a 1978 loss in the short-lived Garden State Bowl at the Meadowlands. Iowa State slipped to 6-7 for the year and 3-8 in bowl games.

The 4-bowl day began with BYU's last-second 24-21 triumph over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Cougars won for the fifth time this season after trailing at halftime. Tulsa took a 14-3 in the second quarter but BYU cut it to 14-10 just before halftime. The Cougars overtook the Golden Hurricane in the 3rd when Riley Nelson hit Cody Hoffman for a 30-yard TD strike. However, Tulsa went back in front in the 4th G.J. Kinne and Bryan Burnham countered with a 30-yard TD combination of their own with just under 11 minutes left in the game. BYU's game-winning drive started at the BYU 30-yard line with 4:31 remaining and ended 12 plays later with Nelson's 3rd TD pass to Hoffman from just 2 yards out.

Baylor's 67-56 thriller over Washington in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday night (December 29) helped the Big 12 improve to 3-0, thus far, in the bowl season while the PAC-12 dropped to 0-3. The game broke several records as Baylor rolled up 777 yards of total offense en route to its 67 points. And Washington QB Keith Price ran for 3 TD's and threw for 4 to set another record for combined touchdowns by a single player. The two teams combined to set a record for total offense with 1,397 yards, and the 123 combined points set a record for total points in a regulation bowl game. Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway, the game's MVP, rushed for 200 yards and scored 5 touchdowns while Heisman Trophy-winning QB Robert Griffin III completed 24-of-33 throws for 295 yards and 1 TD and ran 24 yards for another score. The Bears had 482 net rushing yards as two other players joined Ganaway in topping the 100-yard mark - wide receiver Tevin Reese had 101 yards on 2 carries to go with his 66 yards on 5 receptions, and RB Jared Salubi had 101 yards on 5 carries that produced 2 touchdowns. Baylor rallied from a 42-24 deficit early in the 3rd to quarter to outscore the Huskies 43-14 the rest of the way after Washington overcame a 21-7 1st quarter deficit to take a 35-24 halftime lead. Baylor's first bowl win since 1992 extended its current winning streak to 6 games and gave the Bears a 10-victory season (10-3) for the first time since 1980 (10-2).

Earlier in the evening, Florida State rallied from a 14-0 3rd-quarter deficit to beat Notre Dame 18-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl. E.J. Manuel threw two touchdown passes and Dustin Hopkins kicked a 29-yard field goal, all in the final stanza, to help the 'Noles win their 4th straight bowl game and improve their overall bowl record to 24-14-2. The Irish saw a 2-bowl winning streak end as they lost for the 10th time in their last 12 postseason appearances and dropped to 15-16 all-time in bowl games.

Texas trudged to a 21-10 win over California in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday night (December 28) in a game that produced a combined total of 450 yards. Cal was held to a measly 195 yards as it lost four fumbles and had a pass intercepted, while Texas gained just 255 yards but had no turnovers.

Earlier in the day, Air Force fumbled the ball out-of-bounds on an attempted 2-point conversion off a fake kick with 52 seconds left, giving Toledo a 42-41 win in the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C. The Toledo defense, usually an oxymoron, sniffed out the fake and, when holder David Baska found himself with nowhere to run, the ball squirted out and toward the sideline as kicker Parker Herrington tried to chase it down. The Toledo win made Matt Campbell a winner in his head coaching debut after the 32-year old was promoted from offensive coordinator when Tim Beckman left to replace Ron Zook at Illinois.

North Carolina State beat Louisville 31-24 in the Belk Bowl on Wednesday (December 27) as Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien improved to 8-2 in bowl games with Boston College (6-1) and the Wolfpack (2-1). N.C. State defensive back David Amerson had two interceptions, one for a 64-yard touchdown return, giving him 13 for the season. North Carolina State improved its bowl record to 14-11-1 with its fifth win in its last six tries.

Prior to that game, the bowl season continued to jinx Western Michigan as the Broncos fell to 0-5 all-time with a 37-32 loss to Purdue in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl. Think it's not a jinx? Consider that Western Michigan had 4 passes picked off, lost 3 fumbles, and failed to cover 2 Purdue onside kicks. Purdue also lost 4 fumbles in the often sloppy contest.

After all the good boys and girls opened their presents, Missouri was an easy 41-24 winner over North Carolina in the Independence Bowl the day after Christmas. Quarterback James Franklin accounted for 3 touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 throwing) as the Tigers opened a 31-7 lead in the 2nd quarter and cruised to the victory. Missouri, which moves to the SEC next season, wrapped up its final campaign, as a Big 12 member with an 8-5 record. North Carolina, which played the entire 2011 season under interim head coach Everett Withers, finished the season at 7-6, just one game below the 8-5 record that it had for three straight years under Butch Davis.

On Christmas Eve, Southern Miss downed Nevada 24-17 in the Hawai'i Bowl. Larry Fedora, who led the Golden Eagles to a school record 12-win season in his final year, takes over as head coach at North Carolina next season. The game was sparsely-attended and short on sizzle, especially after the USM defense figured out how to halt Nevada senior RB Lampford Mark. Mark had 162 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns in the first half, but was held to just 21 yards after intermission. Nevada QB Cody Fajardo was yanked for Tyler Lantrip after three 3-and-outs to open the second half. Though Golden Eagle QB Austin Davis also had an off-day, completing just 18-of-41 for 165 yards, he did manage a pair of touchdown passes. The teams set a pair of Hawai'i Bowl records for futility by combining to punt 17 times and scoring just 41 total points. With Nevada's loss, the WAC finished a winless bowl season at 0-3.

Doug Martin returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and Boise State kept on rolling to a 56-24 rout of Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas on Thursday night (December 22). The Broncos (12-1) finished their third consecutive season with at least 12 wins while the Sun Devils (6-7) lost their fifth straight game. It was Dennis Erickson's last game as head coach and the loss dropped his five-year record at ASU to 31-31. Todd Graham was named the new head coach of the Sun Devils on December 14, leaving that same position at Pittsburgh after just one season. Boise State QB Kellen Moore owns the NCAA record for career wins with 50. Arizona State's Rashad Ross returned the opening kickoff of the second-half 98 yards for a touchdown. Boise State is 8-4 all-time in bowl games with a third consecutive postseason victory. Arizona State dropped to 12-12-1 with a 3rd straight bowl loss. The Broncos are 50-3 over the last 4 years and 73-6 since Petersen became head coach in 2006.

TCU outscored Louisiana Tech 14-0 in the fourth quarter to rally for a 31-24 Poinsettia Bowl win on Wednesday night (December 21). In the process, the Horned Frogs picked up their 6th bowl win in their last 7 tries and ended the 2011 season on an 8-game winning streak. TCU improved its overall bowl record to 13-14-1 while the Bulldogs dropped to 2-3.

Marshall upset FIU 20-10 to capture the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl on Tuesday night (December 20). Marshall was clinging to a 13-10 lead with under 40 seconds left and facing 4th-and-5 at the FIU 35-yard line when, instead of punting, the Herd put the game away with a 35-yard touchdown pass to provide the final margin. The game was often chippy as Marshall has over 30 players from Florida on its roster and FIU is made up almost entirely of homegrown prospects. A brawl nearly broke out at the end when a Thundering Herd player punched a Golden Panther. Many players from both benches exchanged words and shoves, and Marshall players began jumping up and down, taunting and wolfing, but cooler heads ultimately prevailed. Marshall improved to 7-2 all-time in bowl games while FIU dropped to 1-1.

The 2011-2012 bowl season opened on Saturday, December 17 and gave us a lot more than we bargained for.

Yeah, the day started off weak with Temple destroying Wyoming 37-15 in game that wasn't even that close. A late touchdown and 2-point conversion made the final score look slightly more respectable, but the Owls took a quick 21-0 lead in the New Mexico Bowl and never looked back. In Steve Addazio's first year as head coach, the former Florida offensive coordinator led Temple to its first bowl win since 1979 and a 9-4 season overall record. The Owls are 26-12 over the last three seasons, exceeding the 25 total victories for the school from 2000-2008. Wyoming dropped to 6-7 in bowl games while closing out its 2011 campaign at 8-5, still good enough for a 5-win improvement from a year ago and not bad at all for a team that was projected to go 3-9 again this year.

The excitement heated up in game 2 as quarterback Tyler Tettleton completed an Ohio comeback with a 1-yard keeper for a touchdown with 13 seconds left, providing a 24-23 win over Utah State for its first-ever bowl win (1-5) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. It was the first lead of the game for the Bobcats which fell behind 9-0 quickly in the first quarter and trailed 23-10 more than halfway through the 3rd quarter. Utah State is also 1-5 all-time in bowl games after the loss. The Congrove Computer Rankings projected this game to be the tightest one of the entire bowl season with the Aggies tabbed as a 0.11-point favorite.

However, the third and final game of the day was even more dramatic as Brett Baer kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired to lift Louisiana-Lafayette to a 32-30 New Orleans Bowl win over San Diego State in its first-ever FBS bowl game. Just 30 seconds earlier, San Diego State had taken its first and only lead of the game on Ryan Lindley's 12-yard touchdown pass to Colin Lockett. But Ragin' Cajun QB Blaine Gautier led his team from its own 18-yard line to the Aztec 38 where they were set to try a 55-yard boot. It became a little easier when San Diego State was penalized 5 yards for "illegal stemming" (making motions and actions to cause the offense to move). The 50-yarder squeezed past the left upright and probably would have been good from 55 or slightly longer.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive on the Tony Barnhart Show on CBS Sports Network on Thursday night (January 5) said, "I do think we are going to see changes and I don't think those changes will be tweaks, that's the term that we always use. I think there will be changes. We're going to begin to focus in on all these issues over the next six-to-nine months, with the idea of no-holds barred. We need to take a look at the entire structure and see what kinds of changes need to be made. But I do really think there will be changes."

Slive added, " I do think the plus-one has to come back to the table. I'm confident that we'll have a robust conversation about the plus-one and I certainly will want to make sure that that issue is fully vetted. I think the climate has changed to some degree, so I'm looking forward to that discussion."

Personally, I'm not a fan of the plus-one idea. If you're going to change something, change it fully and correctly - don't just put a band-aid on it. The biggest benefactors of a plus-one are the TV network airing the game and the coffers of the conferences that are already reaping the benefits. For fans who actually attend games, it adds hundreds to thousands of dollars of additional cost that the ordinary fan can not afford. It won't add much, if any, legitimacy to the title of "national champion" - it will only determine who won a couple of games. This is why I'm not a BCS opponent - it doesn't force teams that proved themselves for 12 or 13 games to prove themselves all over again for two, or more, games.

The final effects of TattooGate are now known. The NCAA cited Ohio State for "failure to monitor" and issued a postseason ban for 2012. The football team will not be allowed to compete for the Big Ten conference championship or accept a bowl bid next season.

Ohio State had already volunteered to vacate the 2010 season, return its earnings from the Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas, and accept two years of probation and a loss of 5 scholarships over the next three years. But the NCAA took 4 more scholarships away, giving the Buckeyes 82 per year from 2012-2014 instead of the usual 85 and tacked ona third year of probation.

The NCAA also singled out then-head coach Jim Tressel for unethical conduct for his role in attempting to cover-up the transgressions of 8 players who were found to have received cash and tattoos in exchange for game jerseys, bowl memorabilia and other items. Tressel was put on five years of "show cause" probation, meaning any team wishing to hire him could also face sanctions for doing so.

Tressel was finally forced to resign on Memorial Day and co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell served as interim head coach for the entire season. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was a key figure in the allegations and the NCAA accepted Ohio State's self-imposed penalty of disassociating with Pryor for five years.

Former Florida head coach Urban Meyer was announced as the new head coach on November 28. Less than a week later, Ohio State was invited to play Florida in the Gator Bowl on January 2. Fickell was still the head coach for the Buckeyes in the bowl game and Meyer retained him as an assistant for next year. Florida qwon the game to finish 7-6 while the loss gave Ohio State (6-7) its first season of more than 6 losses since 1897.

The NCAA release can be found here.

Computer Success
The Congrove Computer Rankings are 17-10 in forecasting outright upsets in bowl games since 2008, including 4-2 this year.

New Names
Meineke Car Care switches its sponsorship from Charlotte to Houston. As a result, the "Meineke Car Care Bowl" becomes the "Belk Bowl", and the "Texas Bowl" becomes the "Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas".

The "Humanitarian Bowl" in Boise becomes the "Famous Idaho Potato Bowl".

Bowl First-Timers
Louisiana-Lafayette is the only school making its very first bowl appearance. The Ragin' Cajuns have been a 1-A or FBS member since 1973. UL-L made this year's appearance count with a dramatic 50-yard field goal as time expired for a 32-30 win over an Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl.

The proliferation of bowl games over the last several years has made it easier for teams to achieve bowl eligibility and five of the last six seasons have seen one team break through. FIU did so last year (Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl), Buffalo in 2008 (International Bowl), FAU in 2007 (Motor City Bowl), Middle Tennessee in 2006 (New Orleans Bowl), and now the Golden Panthers in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.

2 Who Have Never Been
These teams have never played in a major college bowl game:
Western Kentucky

First Time In A Long Time
Of the teams that made it this year, these had the longest wait to get back to a bowl game:
Utah State, 1997 (hasn't won a bowl game since 1993)
Arkansas State, 2005 (has never won a bowl game)
Virginia, 2007 (hasn't won a bowl game since 2005)

Note: Utah State still hasn't won a bowl game since 1993 after falling to Ohio 24-23 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Tyler Tettleton's 1-yard run with 13 seconds left in the game. Until that play, the Aggies had led for the duration of the contest.

Virginia still hasn't won a bowl game since 2007 after a 42-23 loss to Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Waiting To Return
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl absence:
New Mexico State, 1960
Kent State, 1972
Eastern Michigan, 1987
Duke, 1995

Bowl Appearance Streak
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances:
Florida State, 30
Florida, 21
Virginia Tech, 19
Georgia, 15
Georgia Tech, 15

Bowl Winning Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl victories (last season of a bowl loss in parenthesis):
Mississippi State, 5 (1998) - Includes a 23-17 win over Wake Forest in this year's Music City Bowl.
Rutgers, 5 (2005) - Includes a 27-13 win over Iowa State in this year's Pinstripe Bowl.
Auburn, 5 (2005) - Includes a 42-23 win over Virginia in this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Florida State, 4 (2007) - Includes an 18-14 win over Notre Dame in this year's Champs Sports Bowl.
Mississippi, 4 (2000)
USC, 4 (2005)

Bowl Losing Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl losses (last season of a bowl win in parenthesis):
Northwestern, 9 (1948) - Includes a 33-22 loss to Texas A&M in this year's Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
Georgia Tech, 7 (2004) - Includes a 30-27 overtime loss to Utah in this year's Sun Bowl.
Ball State, 5 (Never)
UTEP, 5 (1967)
Western Michigan, 5 (Never) - Includes a 37-32 loss to Purdue in this year's Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl.
Kansas State, 4 - Includes a 29-16 loss to Arkansas in this year's Cotton Bowl
Minnesota, 4 (2004)

Note: Ohio, Texas A&M and Michigan State all snapped 5-bowl losing streaks this year.
Ohio edged Utah State 24-23 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Texas A&M downed Northwestern 33-22 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
Michigan State won 33-30 in triple-overtime over Georgia in this year's Outback Bowl.

Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)
Ball State, 0-5
Western Michigan, 0-5 - Includes a 37-32 loss to Purdue in this year's Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl.
Akron, 0-1
Arkansas State, 0-2 - Includes a 38-20 loss to Northern Illinois in this year's Bowl.
Buffalo, 0-1
Kent State, 0-1
UAB, 0-1

Note: Ohio was 0-5 before defeating Utah State 24-23 in this year's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Best Bowl Winning Percentage
(Minimum 20 appearances. Source: College Football Data Warehouse)

USC, .667 (32-16)
Mississippi, .636 (21-12)
Oklahoma State, .636 (14-8) - Includes a 41-38 overtime win over Stanford in this year's Fiesta Bowl.
Penn State, .636 (27-15-2) - Includes a 30-14 loss to Houston in this year's TicketCity Bowl.
Florida State, .625 (24-14-2) - Includes an 18-14 win over Notre Dame in this year's Champs Sports Bowl.
Auburn, .622 (22-13-2) - Includes a 42-23 win over Virginia in this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Oklahoma, .611 (27-17-1) - Includes a 31-14 win over Iowa in this year's Insight Bowl.
Alabama, .602 (34-22-3) - Includes a 21-0 win over LSU in this year's BCS Championship game.
Boston College, .591 (13-9)
Georgia, .585 (26-18-3) - Includes a 33-30 triple-overtime loss to Michigan State in this year's Outback Bowl.

Most Bowl Wins
Alabama, 34 - Includes a 21-0 win over LSU in this year's BCS Championship game.
Southern Cal, 32 - Did not play this year
Oklahoma, 27 - Includes a 31-14 win over Iowa in this year's Insight Bowl.
Penn State, 27 - Lost this year
Georgia, 26 - Lost this year
Texas, 26 - Includes a 21-10 win over California in this year's Holiday Bowl.
Tennessee, 25 - Did not play this year
Florida State, 24 - Includes an 18-14 win over Notre Dame in this year's Champs Sports Bowl.
Nebraska, 24 - Lost this year
Auburn, 22 - Includes a 42-23 win over Virginia in this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Georgia Tech, 22 - Lost this year
LSU, 22 - Lost this year
Mississippi, 21 - Did not play this year
Michigan, 20 - Includes a 23-20 overtime win over Virginia Tech in this year's Sugar Bowl.
Ohio State, 20 - Lost this year

FBS vs. FCS:
All of the FBS-FCS games have been played and FBS teams finished the season 91-6 (.938) to raise their record to 638-55 (.921) vs. the FCS since 2003.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/24: North Dakota St. 37, Minnesota 24
9/24: Sam Houston State 48, New Mexico 45 (OT)
9/24: Southern Utah 41, UNLV 16
9/17: Indiana State 44, Western Kentucky 16
9/3: Richmond 23, Duke 21
9/3: Sacramento State 29, Oregon State 28

93 FBS teams played at least one FCS foe this year and four of those schools played two such games - Air Force, Eastern Michigan, N.C. State and Wyoming.

LSU - 14-game win streak ended with 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship game. The Tigers still own a 17-game home winning streak.

Arkansas State - 9-game win streak ended with 38-20 loss to Northern Illinois in the Bowl. The Red Wolves still own an 8-game conference win streak.

Northern Illinois - 9 straight wins overall, 8 straight conference wins and 15 straight home wins. The Huskies beat Arkansas State 38-20 in the Bowl.

TCU - 8 straight wins overall. 24 straight conference wins. The Horned Frogs beat Louisiana Tech 31-24 in the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21 in San Diego.

Virginia Tech - 13 straight wins in true road games (at opponents' venue). The Hokies face Michigan on January 3 in the Sugar Bowl.

Kansas - 10 straight losses overall. The have completed their season.

Tulane - 10 straight losses overall. The Green Wave have completed their season.

New Mexico - 21 straight road losses. The Lobos have completed their season.

Mississippi - 14 straight conference losses. The Rebels have completed their season.

The coaching carousel turned 26 changes at the top. Many teams were led in the bowl season by an interim head coach. North Carolina and Ohio State were led by coaches who spent the entire 2011 season with "interim" preceding their title. Arizona State and Southern Miss were led by lame duck head coaches. Toledo played its first game under a new official head coach. Here's the list of who coached who at the schools where changes had been announced: ("i" denotes "interim")

Arizona State - Dennis Ericksoni
Arkansas State - (i) David Gunn, offensive coordinator
Houston - Tony Levine. Interim coach is newly-appointed head coach
Illinois - (i) Vic Koenning, defensive coordinator
North Carolina - (i) Everett Withers, interim head coach for the entire season
Ohio State - (i) Luke Fickell, interim head coach for the entire season
Penn State - (i) Tom Bradley, interim head coach since November 9
Pittsburgh - Keith Patterson, defensive coordinator
Southern Miss - Larry Fedora
Texas A&M - (i) Tim DeRuyter, defensive coordinator
Toledo - Matt Campbell, interim coach is newly-appointed head coach
UCLA - (i) Mike Johnson, offensive coordinator

For a complete and up-to-date list of coaching changes, go to Coaching Changes.


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